Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interview Part 18: The Unfolding Discordance.

I'm returning shortly to the standard format, not because I am lazy.

Well, okay, fine, it's that, you got me. So I am lazy and I am returning to the old format of interviews, but the quality still remains the same, or perhaps more. You'll be the judge of that. So this time, we feature, discordance, in probably what is one of the most interesting interviews, I've had the chance to conduct.

1) This is a typical question asked to all interviewed people. So, how did you find AGS?

Wikipedia binge, I think. I was looking up some adventure games I remember playing as a young child (KQV, specifically) and ended up stumbling upon AGS. That's a boring story, so let me tell you about the time I fought a dragon.

(It was awesome.)

2) Do you have a favorite AGS and/or non-AGS game?

I played a bunch of classic AGS games soon after I found it - Jessica Plunkenstein, the Apprentice games, the KQ remakes (because I get a nostalgia kick from KQ, mostly). Trilby's Notes is pretty good. 5 Days a Stranger is terrible. As for non-AGS games, I'm a big fan of the Portal and Half-Life games.

3) A certain fan of yours, has obliged me to tell you "Don't ever stop making good games, UNDERSTOOD?". How do you react to that?

Sounds pretty serious! If I ever decide to switch to cooking or something I'd better watch my back. (I am not going to switch to cooking. Calm down, certain fan of mine!)

4) People have commented that the only flaw in your games so far, appears to be in the graphics department. Comment on this, please.

It's true! I can't draw at all, and I have no interest in getting better. If I put in a lot of effort I might be able to move myself up from "terrible" to "mediocre", but I'd rather focus on things I actually enjoy, like writing and music. I've worked a little with other people who actually can draw, but it's really hard keeping even two people interested in a single project, especially since I like to move through ideas so quickly. Maybe at some point I'll team up with an artist and make a game with pretty pictures! Or maybe other people will just remake all my games and save me the trouble! Who knows.

5) Apart from the sequel/prequel to "How they found Silence" is there any other project you're involved with?

I'm always doing like twelve things at once, most of which will probably never be finished. I have folders full of part-finished projects that have been subsequently abandoned. I imagine most amateur game makers could say the same thing. The HTFS sequel is my only AGS project right now, though - I'm also messing about making roguelikes, and I've recently taken an interest in writing some IF. You don't need to be able to draw to make IF! It's perfect.

6) Was the whole vagueness behind the Unfolding Spider, an intended thing, to allow players to shape their own side of the story? And if so, what inspired you to go towards that direction?

That's exactly it, yeah. I mentioned that I like Portal, which does a similar thing - it implies a huge, mysterious backstory, but leaves most of it to your imagination. That's a big part of what makes it so memorable. Of course, my game is much better than Portal.*

I've always liked stories that don't feel the need to spell everything out, the kind where you think about them afterward and suddenly see something you missed before, some connection or explanation or motivation that you hadn't thought of. The Unfolding Spider takes this to an extreme by making no sense at all, of course.


7) What exactly shaped up Unfolding Spider into what it became, what was the initial goal?

I like making games, but sometimes doing things like thinking up puzzles and structuring them into a consistent and engaging story gets boring and frustrating. I just felt like screwing around and making something that didn't require too much planning or, you know, "effort".

What I mean is, I came up with a brilliant artistic vision and knew I had to share it with the world, so I spent months putting all my ideas together and forming a cohesive whole. It's a work of art, goddammit!

The actual truth is that I wanted to play around with some things - playing with the old amnesia gimmick, making a game without puzzles, making a game with a heavily ambiguous narrative, giving the player character a sense of history and direction via atmosphere and actions, rather than exposition. Also to have fun making a game without doing all the hard bits.

8 ) Knowing this would spoil my and probably everyone's idea about the Unfolding Spider, but is there an actual story ? Or is the game simply about madness?

I don't think it's a case of "the hero is just a nut having a bad dream in his padded cell," that would be kind of lame. There's definitely a story in there. Different people might have different ideas about what it is. That's all I'm going to say.


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